Where to Eat, Right Now: The List

Here, in list form, our compendium of where you should be eating right this very moment: a carefully vetted mix of the forward-leaning restaurants that have emerged on the scene during the past couple of years and the stalwarts reinventing themselves in fresh ways (eligibility deadline: end of September). For more highlights and details about our selection process, check out the complete 2013 dining guide.

STRIP-T’S

Some of the area’s most exciting food—grilled potatoes with pumpkin and marrow butter, takoyaki with plum sauce—is being served by Tim Maslow and crew at a scruffy Watertown diner, against a sonic backdrop of slow jams, no less (at least on a recent visit).

$$$ | Great for: Wine | 93 School St., Watertown, 617-923-4330, stripts.com.

SWEET CHEEKS

Tiffani Faison’s homage to Texas barbecue offers high-quality renditions of smoked brisket, pulled pork, and light-as-air biscuits—plus masterfully composed salads to pair with them.

$$ | Great for: GroupsCocktails | 1381 Boylston St., Boston, 617-266-1300, sweetcheeksq.com.

SYCAMORE

Seasonal produce is the star of the vegetable-centric dishes at this tucked-away Newton spot. Carnivores, meanwhile, will appreciate the inventive meat boards for two.

$$$ | Great for: VegetariansCocktailsWine, Date | 755 Beacon St., Newton, 617-244-4445, sycamorenewton.com.

TAVERN ROAD

The recent joint effort from brothers Louis and Michael DiBiccari has introduced a vibrant mix of à la carte sides and mains, serious cocktails, and a casual-bites-driven takeout spot (TR Street Foods) to Fort Point.

$$–$$$ | Great for: GroupsCocktails | 343 Congress St., Boston, 617-790-0808, tavernroad.com.

boston-restaurant-cocktails-11

The Champs-Elysées from Ten Tables J.P.

TEN TABLES J.P.

The intimate dining room remains a lovely place to tuck into house-made sausages and elegant pastas, but don’t overlook the bar area, which boasts a litany of fun snacks, a great burger, and excellent cocktails from barman Joe Choinière.

$$–$$$ | Great for: VegetariansCocktailsWine, Date | 597 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-8810, tentables.net.

TORO

Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s tapas spot remains a South End fave, thanks to its appealing mix of Spanish classics (tortilla Española, paella) and quirky one-offs (pork belly with pumpkin and kimchi).

$$ | Great for: VegetariansCocktailsWine | 1704 Washington St., Boston, 617-536-4300, toro-restaurant.com.

TRADE

Jody Adams’s second restaurant is sleek and scene-y, but there’s plenty of substance in the interesting dishes (like whole lobster and clams in a Thai-scented broth) and welcoming service.

$$$ | Great for: GroupsCocktailsWine, Date | 540 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 617-451-1234, trade-boston.com.

TRES GATOS

With its seriously stacked sherry list, unconventional small plates (grilled lamb tongue, beer-battered golden trout), and location inside a music-and-book store, this J.P. tapas bar is about as cool as it gets.

$$ | Great for: CocktailsWine, Date | 470 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-477-4851, tresgatosjp.com.

Whole chicken for Two from West Bridge. Hover/click for details.

WEST BRIDGE

Matthew Gaudet’s Kendall Square tribute to small-plate wizardry turns lowly carrots and cauliflower into masterpieces, yet the more-shareable menu items—like braised lamb neck—are winners, too.

$$$ | Great for: VegetariansGroupsCocktailsWine, Date | One Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-945-0221, westbridgerestaurant.com.

WHISK

Head to this tasting-menu-only Han-over Street pop-up while you still can for excellent bread (four words: black garlic–miso butter), beautiful pastas, and conceptual yet satisfying desserts.

$$$ | Great for: Date | 351 Hanover St., Boston, 617-756-7571, whiskboston.com.

  • diggit

    “50 overpriced restaurants that advertise with us or we wish would.”

  • andythebouncer

    Lots of these places could be *easily* displaced by Catalyst.

    • June Haggar

      AGREE!

  • Rick Berryman

    You missed Red Lentil in Watertown!!! Extraordinary food at very reasonable prices!

  • Kaitlin

    I wish there was a map to go along with this list…

  • David

    Agree, pretty daft Catalyst not in this list.